(I apologize if pictures aren’t formatted correctly. Although I have edited them, they seem to show up strangely on some devices. If you know how to fix this, please let me know.)
Well, I’m quite late on this race report (the race was in late June..), but there is no time like the present! This race was really meaningful to me, so I wanted to make sure I wrote about it. Also, I’m getting into “triathlon mode” now that I am halfway through my 70.3 training plan. I always struggle with training, but I have a long bike and a long run coming up this weekend that should help boost my current confidence level.
I wasn’t initially going to do this race because of finances. However, two of my friends from the Schweddy Belles in Memphis (shoutout to Allison & Emily!) registered me for it as a going away gift. This was really meaningful to me because Annie Oakley was my first triathlon and first race in Memphis. I originally did the Super Sprint distance, and this time I did the Sprint. Sprints are weird in triathlons because their distances vary. This was my longest sprint yet (1/2 mile swim, 16 mile bike, 4 mile run). Additionally, this was my 26th (!) race since having moved to Memphis, and I turned 26 years old this year. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll get quite as many races in now that I’m on a grad school budget. I am really grateful to my friends for registering me for this race. It was definitely an awesome day. (P.S. I was super nervous before the start of the race– can you tell?? Ha.)
Swim (1/2 mile, 27:45, Rank: 116/118)
Oh, the open water swim. I have a history of having mild panic attacks in the open water swim for whatever reason, always inevitably ending in a lifeguard asking me if I need help, me floating on my back for awhile and saying no, and moving on once I have gained my composure. My previous triathlon’s swim was particularly bad, and I was really nervous about this once– especially since it was twice as long. This race had a time trial start with each athlete entering the water every three seconds. There were two distances (super sprint & sprint), and the sprinters were last. The cones for the 1/2 mile swim looked so far away. I was nervous, but I practiced some breathing and mindfulness. Before I knew it, I was starting!
The swim went amazing. Obviously my time was really slow. While I have improved my swimming form recently, I haven’t yet mastered how to improve my speed. I was the last swimmer out of the water for the ladies (but I wasn’t the slowest swimmer of the entire race). I didn’t really mind being last for the ladies. I had managed to get through the swim without a panic attack! In addition to my mindfulness techniques beforehand, the water was pretty decent which helped. I could see my hand in front of me under the water. It was a good swim.
Transition 1 (3:08)
The transition area was in grass. I had sandals near the water exit to wear as I ran to my bike. My feet are really sensitive and this always helps. It keeps them clean, too. That’s all I have to say about this transition, ha.
Bike (16 miles, 1:02:41, Rank: 105/118)
Ah, the bike. It always feels like home to me after the swim. This bike course consisted of two 8 mile loops. I was excited because we got to bike on a section of Walnut Grove that is usually closed to cyclists. Since I was the last female swimmer out of the water, I didn’t see too many girls on the bike. I was passed by a lot of super speedy men, though. Most of them yelled affirmative things to me as they passed me, which is always a morale boost! One was only wearing a rubber ducky speedo. The bike course had some small hills, but nothing major at all. It was an enjoyable ride!
Transition 2 (2:27)
I put away my bike stuff and got ready to run. I feel like I might have more to say about transitions if I actually posted my race reports near the race date…
Run (4 miles, 56:31, Rank: 110/118)
The run was on a paved trail which was nice. I saw my friends who had finished the super sprint at the beginning! It’s nice to have people cheering. Some highlights of the run were continued affirmations from people passing me, (literally) running into Kate- a fellow Schweddy Belle- who wasn’t doing the race but was just out for a run and staying with her for a bit, cold water… oh, and the ghosts. I told Allison about the ghosts after the race, and she had no idea what I was talking about. I was worried I was hallucinating. After all, it was pretty (very) hot outside. But– I wasn’t! The ghosts were these people dressed in sheets who would come up to you and yell “Boo!” and “Run faster!” I personally wasn’t a fan of this, but it was an interesting experience. Overall, the heat made this run pretty difficult, but I stuck to my Galloway run/walk intervals and got through it!
Overall: 2:32:30, Rank 111/118 (this includes men & women)
After the race I refueled with some fruit, Coca Cola, and a snow cone! My friends and I lingered for awhile to watch the awards and raffle. Oh– another quick highlight– they had a raffle for various prizes, and I won some nice sunglasses! I’m pretty attached to my Oakleys that my grandparents bought me, but it’s nice to have a backup pair.
I raced Athena, but I don’t know what I got in that category. I can’t find the results. For me, though, this race was about celebrating my running (now triathlete!) friends and my time & growth in Memphis. I had a super fun time during this race, and those endorphins lasted me for awhile afterwards. I am grateful to my friends for helping me do this race and for my ability to do triathlons– I am now nervously and excitedly anticipating 70.3!